The old vaudeville scene popularized in 1944 by the Three Stooges in Gents Without Cents:
Slowly I turned... step by step... inch by inch....
Pic from the Niagara Falls Reporter
...well, the phrase anyway, reminds me of the tiny steps that writers must take in order to reach their goals.
I absolutely love small successes - and had one yesterday, that I'm pretty happy about! I've also been considering my direction - novel, short stories, flashes? Agents, publishers, collections, contests? What are my goals?
Part of my contemplation has been spurred by listening recently to many writers talking with discouragement - about getting published (or lack thereof), watching others attain a 'larger' portion (and feeling slightly threatened or mildly jealous), getting tired on the the steep climb to "respected author" status - and it makes me think about the true definition of success. What does it mean and when is it all enough for a writer?
I think it's important to consider why we write, when the going gets tough.
Is it to receive accolades for our brilliance? Or, is there a more philosophical deep-seated need to express our thoughts and ideas? The answer is probably situated anywhere from one extreme to the other, depending on each individual. Yet, ultimately, I think most of us haven't really chosen this path; it's simply a part of who we are, that inexplicable chunk of ourselves. It doesn't help any that we seem to be a very impatient lot as well, so sometimes our efforts seem meaningless or wasted. In the end though, every success, every publication (even every rejection), personally helps to define me and push me into a better understanding of who I am as both a writer and a person.
For now, I'm trying to enjoy each small step as though it were the Nobel Prize, because I know as long as I keep moving forward, I'll reach my destination.
Maybe I'll have some fun along the way too.
Picture located at Schon.